By John Boyle Herald Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. — If there was any doubt that this wasn’t the Seahawks’ day, it was sufficiently erased late in the third quarter.
Before Sunday’s game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum turned into a 33-3 blowout for the Raiders, the Seahawks were still within striking distance — that is if their offense had been able to move the ball. Then a bad afternoon turned down right silly.
On third-and-nine, Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell tried to hit Darius Heyward-Bey on a slant pass, only the low throw hit the receiver in the knee. But instead of bouncing to the ground, the ball flew to the middle of the field, where it was bobbled by receiver Jacoby Ford. Ford couldn’t come down with it either, but running back Michael Bush was able to run under the ball, catch it and rumbled 55 yards. That led to a Raiders field goal, the first of 20 four-quarter points that, along with a plethora of injuries, insured that this game went down as the worst of the season for the Seahawks.
But to blame this loss on bad bounces would be terribly misleading. The fact is, the Seahawks (4-3) were badly beaten on both sides of the ball as their two-game win streak came to an end.
The Seahawks offense was held to 162 yards, its lowest total of the season, and just 59 rushing yards. The defense, meanwhile, yielded 545 yards, a high for the season, including 239 yards on the ground.
“Well, there’s no mystery to us what happened today,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “We got nothing done. We accomplished nothing in any aspect of our ball. We got whipped at the line of scrimmage at both sides of the ball, and the only redeeming factor was that halfway through the third quarter we still had a chance after not playing very well at any point.”
The loss was particularly jarring to the Seahawks because, after beating Chicago on the road two weeks ago, then dominating Arizona at home last week, they felt like they were a team on the rise. Instead the Seahawks flew home Sunday night trying to figure out how things turned so quickly.
“We feel like we just had our second bye week of the season, but the thing is that you only get one,” Seattle safety Lawyer Milloy said. “We feel like we didn’t even come down here, and that’s disappointing given where we’re at in the season and how we thought out team was progressing. … Flat out, they beat us. They beat us good.”
More than anything, the Raiders beat Seattle by beating the offensive line. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who didn’t finish the game — a team spokesman said he was “dinged” — was sacked twice on Seattle’s opening possession, the first of eight sacks in the game. Seattle couldn’t run the ball effectively, and couldn’t protect Hasselbeck, leading to five straight three-and-outs to start the game.
Despite almost no offense early — Seattle had just four yards in the first quarter — the game was still within reach well into the third quarter. The game could have been even closer in the first half, but Marcel Reece, a former University of Washington receiver who has since converted to fullback, turned a short pass into a 30-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 to give Oakland a 10-0 lead. It looked like Milloy was going to break up the pass, but linebacker David Hawthorne collided with his teammate while trying to make a play of the ball.
“I had the ball,” Milloy said. “I had a good break on the ball, and I got hit. It was an aggressive play by our player trying to make a play also, but that ball was coming out. Things like that happened for them all day. They had a Franco Harris catch. Sometimes the ball just tumbles that way.”
Oakland added another field goal in the third quarter, then Seattle put together a promising drive, that, like pretty much everything else on this day, ended in disappointment. Mike Williams, who battled a knee injury throughout the day and finished with just one catch, dropped a pass on third-and-9 from the Oakland 11-yard line that likely would have been a touchdown, or at the very least a first down inside the 2-yard line.
That was followed by a missed field goal from 27 yards out, the second miss of the game for Olindo Mare, who prior to Sunday had made 30 straight going back to Week 3 of last season.
“We’re right back in the game with a score,” Carroll said of that possession.
Following that miss, the Raiders missed a field goal of their own, then went on their fourth-quarter scoring binge. Oakland’s second touchdown, a 69-yard pass to Heyward-Bey, came one play after an interception that bounced off of Deon Butler’s hands and right to safety Tyvon Branch.
The interception was the first in three games for Hasselbeck, who completed 13 of 32 passes for 160 yards.
“The ball just really didn’t bounce our way today,” said Seattle cornerback Roy Lewis. “That’s all you can really say.”
Bad bounces or not, however, this game qualified as a thorough beat-down worse than anything the Seahawks have experienced in the early stages of the Carroll era.
“That starts right with me,” Carroll said. “I’m in charge of getting these guys ready, and we didn’t play right today. The best thing we can do is get out of here, get on the plane and get back home. Get in the meeting room tomorrow and get started again and let this one get behind us.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog